Arcadia, the retail empire of Sir Philip Green, has confirmed it has appointed administrators from Deloitte.
The move risks 13,000 jobs as the owner of Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Wallis struggled to bear the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
No redundancies are expected to be announced and stores will continue to trade during the process.
“This is an incredibly sad day for all of our colleagues as well as our suppliers and our many stakeholders,” said Arcadia’s CEO Ian Grabiner.
“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the forced closure of our stores for prolonging periods, has severely impacted on trading across all of our brands.”
The group operates around 450 stores in the UK, which were all made to close due to enforced lockdowns.
Grabiner added: “Throughout this immensely challenging time our priority has been to protect jobs and preserve the financial stability of the group in the hope that we could ride out the pandemic and come out fighting on the other side.
“Ultimately, however, in the face of the most difficult trading conditions we have ever experienced, the obstacles were far too severe.”
Meanwhile, Joint Administrator at Deloitte Matt Smith said the financial firm is looking for expressions of interest.
Retail tycoon Mike Ashley’s last-ditch £50m lifeline for the flailing business was rejected yesterday, all but sealing the fate of the retail company.
The announcement comes on the same day that Debenhmas confirmed it had failed to secure a rescue deal with JD Sports, which was hindered by the collapse of Arcadia.